How To Deliver Customer Service Like An Athlete

Peter Drucker once stated that the purpose of every American business is one thing – creating customers. Research by the American Management Association show that your average HAPPY customer will tell 3 people about her experience with you. Research shows that, out of 25 dissatisfied customers, one customer complain, 24 are dissatisfied but do not complain, and 6 of 24 non complainers have serious issues with the organization. More importantly for selling professionals, customer service is included in 40 percent of every client interaction.

I remember the greatest words I ever heard when seeking to repair my computer after a 3 hour conversation, the representative getting tired stated, “You are a customer, and I will get this repaired for you no matter what”. When you supply grand slam customer service, your business costs are lower and your success greater.

Great Service Requires Great Solutions

After doing some research, I have discovered that the key to grand slam customer service is practicing it. Just like an athlete practices for an event, or the musician practices for a concert, the service provider must practice. Here is my seven-step protocol to enhance your service delivery.

PRACTICE � Customer Service

-Positive First Impression – you must be genuinely interested in assisting others. passion and empathy separates the athletes from the spectators.

-Rapport – 98% of every interaction involves trust and respect. Ensure you establish rapport with every client.

-Assess the Issue – Asking provocative questions is the only way to get to the heart and soul of every issue.

-Communication – The best communicators listen first and speak second. Athletes know when to ask and when to tell.

-Time Management – Customer Service representatives are trained to expeditiously respond to issues but can you do this qualitatively too?

-Interest – Gaining interest requires an understanding of the multi generational and cultural issues that assist in building rapport and becoming genuinely being interested in others, a famous Dale Carnegie and biblical trait.

-Closing on a Positive Note – Always close your calls on the positive side seeking to address any open issues and questions.

-Evaluation – Customer service requires conviction and passion to aid others. Once complete with your calls ensure you also evaluate to carry these themes from call to call.

No Clients are the same

You must adjust this process to fit your business and strategy. Ensure success by evaluating your clients, and your staff to closely align the staff with compelling client needs. Document your successes and discuss these with your team, so that your game plans adjust as new needs arise.

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How To Address The Customer Service Gap

Finding Solutions that otherwise puzzle organizations

Organizations believe that they provide exactly what customers desire. Ask any firm and the Paretto Principle prevails. 80 percent of most organizations believe they deliver exemplary customer service. Ironically, less then 20 percent do. According to research by consultancy Bain and Company, only 8 percent of companies really deliver on customer service.

Our present environment exists with a gap in delivering service. There are numerous reasons for the gap, however, we believe two issues contribute to this gap, a) greed and b) the inability of customer relationships.

Greed Many statements by management consultant Peter Drucker are famous. However, in the book The Practice of Management, Drucker clearly states, “There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer.” Organizations today are trumped by two fundamental issues- competition and productivity. The focus is so acute that raising revenue, higher profits and increasing productivity all ignore the necessary myopia of customer concentration.

Exemplars of avarice include Starbuck’s, the airline industry and retail establishments. Anytime an organization believes they can achieve higher growth they raise fees, not one CEO or analysts stops to ask what the impact of the client is. Prior to heightened fees, customer remain for two purposes 1) either first mover advantage in the case of Starbuck’s or 2) value such as American Airlines. Yet when fees increase, customers tend to jump ship for cheaper and more appealing alternatives.

The solution for any firm is to thoroughly conduct an impact analysis to determine potential market losses. New revenue means nothing when you lose a core customer base. Customer dissonance cannot be taken for granted.

Customer Relationships Customer connections are very difficult to build- that is to say unless you are focused on your core asset. First, as mentioned earlier, an organizations entire strategy must exist for the client. Strategic questions to ask are, “Who is the customer? Why does the customer buy? What is the value that our firm provides? How do reach disseminate product, service and announcements to our customers? These questions all told focus all beliefs, all values and all attitudes for the company asset. Further, it is imperative to treat the client as such- an asset. Nothing happens, no one gets paid and the electricity does not provide power to the plants unless a customer is involved.

Herein are several techniques to align with your clients-

Refrain from CRM. We do not challenge the power and functionality of Customer Relationship Management. Yet too much resource is placed into these trivial software systems. Stop trying to augment human interaction with software. Just like a political candidate if you desire to press the flesh then do so, do not leave an email to chance.

Interaction. The proliferation of the Internet and technology has taken away the most precious asset of any relationship- interaction. Avatars such as Proctor and Gamble and Southwest Airlines discovered long ago that the better part of customer service is being there! Get off your carcass and stop administering start speaking. Make it a plan to meet with your clients as often as possible.

Enculturation. The entire organization must holistically focus on customer service. Everyone must focus on one thing, why you are in business. Exemplars here are FedEx where the culture suggests, everyone’s employment is based on guaranteed overnight delivery.

Value and Brand. There is little doubt that a housewife buys appliances for service. She buys because of the experience others have had. Speed, cost and service become part of the customer experience relative to value. Cadillac and Coca Cola have become industry standards because of this success. Not many claim to be the Taurus of the business.

Avatars and Advertising. When the service you provide is so strong, your established customer base speaks for you. When the time arrives that prospective clients speak higher than your advertising creating new customer arrivals, your customer gap is immensely narrowed. Crocs the apparel company created a billion dollar entity with little advertising.

Value Again it is so important. What does the customer consider value? The default is price but this is untrue. Price is only part of value. The concept of value is complicated and rather than surmise, the only person to respond is the customer himself. Management must refrain from board meetings and speculation, if your organization desires the response then ask the customer.

Feedback loops. In addition to client visits, ensure success with Customer Briefings, Focus Groups, Interview, 360 feedback and other imperative mechanisms. Customer Service is not one-dimensional and requires that organizations connect the dots between what they learn about customers and what they currently offer to customers. This also includes organizational functions and customer response times.

The roads to customer service and customer loyalty are rocky, uncharted and complex. And, today’s competitive matrix further complicates the issues. There are numerous paths to take and numerous bridges that must be built to close the gaps. However, the most imperative is not discussing matters in the boardroom and leaving the issues amongst the silence. Broken promises are the missing puzzle pieces as they become the keys to future growth. Customer gaps are filled when the culture of the organization from top to bottom, exemplify with admiration and energy an emphasis to a key corporate asset- the customer.

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Customer Service Course At Its Simplest

Come to think of it, there is no industry that does not involve customer service; reason why this course was created to help entrepreneurs and employees to understand customer service and its importance.

Customer service is a process whereby a representative of a company provides services or products to a customer in a satisfying manner. Undergoing a course on customer service can drastically change the direction your business is going. It increases customer satisfaction and in the long run yields customer loyalty.

Customer service can occur practically anywhere. The following are just some of the examples:
Personal or face to face
Telephone
Order-taking
Complaint handling
Bills, payments, documents
Online and/or via email

This customer service course aims to give you a quick run-through on how to improve customer service skills. First, one must understand that no amount of course on customer service can teach the following:
Attitude � having the right attitude is something innate, something that makes up the whole personality of the person.
Commitment � as an entrepreneur, you can’t force an employee to be committed to the job. It must come from within.
Happiness � this trait depends on the person and when you are happy, everything else that’s good follows. You have a positive disposition in life.

Let’s discuss a few simple steps on how to improve customer service.
Smile � an act as such gives a feeling of satisfaction to the customers. Most likely, customers will have an impression that the establishment has good customer service.
Know the customer’s name � customers appreciate it when their name is mentioned by a company representative. It somehow gives the feeling of personalized customer service
Be courteous
Ask for feedback � this way, a customer feels that his/her opinions matter.

A basic customer service course usually includes:
Definition of customer service
Forms of customer service
Achieving excellent customer service
How to deal with different types of customers
How to improve listening skills
Responding skills
Developing personal action steps to improve customer handling

A good customer service course must be personalized according to needs of the participants. They also must learn techniques on how to handle different tricky situations. Another point to be tackled in a good customer service course is to relate to different types of customers and different communication styles. It’s also beneficial to teach non-verbal cues that are ideal as well as how to read the customers’ body language. More often than not, body language speaks more than words. It would also be very helpful that a course on customer service can teach the participants how to empathize with the customers so they can gain the customers’ confidence. Excellent customer service is simple as long you know the basics and you have the passion to achieve it. Without that passion or commitment, you can never succeed in anything in any industry.

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